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7 Reasons Why You Should Consider Giving Birth At Home

7 Reasons Why You Should Consider Giving Birth At Home

Before hospitals, mothers gave birth in the comfort of their own homes and their babies grew up just fine. Is it safe to do it today? What are the risks? What if there are complications? What if something goes wrong? Is home birth okay for a first-time mum? You obviously have a ton of questions on your mind. As a first-time mum, I had the same questions on my mind before finally giving birth safely to my daughter at home.

Here is why you should consider giving birth at home.

1. The comfort of your home

Unlike a hospital birth, you are not confined to a little space — you have the whole house to yourself. You can wear whatever you feel like wearing that makes you comfortable. It’s your home, every food is allowed and you can eat whatever you want to eat at whatever time. You also have the chance to practice a variety of labour positions to find out what works best for you. For me, lying on the floor and climbing up and down the stairs helped to ease my contractions. I have no idea how I would have done that in the hospital. Hospital births are more controlled. You are usually confined to a bed and your food and fluid intake is limited. At home, you know where the kitchen is in case you are craving for anything. After all, you are only pregnant and not sick.

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2. Less risk of intervention

Research shows that moms who planned to give birth at home ended up with fewer interventions, such as episiotomies and C-sections, compared with a group of equally low-risk women who had planned hospital deliveries. In my opinion, this is as a result of time management. Instead of letting the birth happen naturally, they want to speed up the process or make it happen at a desirable time for the doctor or mother. Planned home births have been associated with less maternal infection and fewer maternal interventions, including electronic fetal heart rate monitoring and episiotomy, along with fewer third- or fourth-degree lacerations and tears.

During pre-natal care, your health care practitioner will walk you through all the potential “what if’s” and discuss a backup plan with you. They have a good system in place for transfer to a hospital when necessary.

3. No restrictions

A home birth offers you the freedom to choose the number of people you want to share your precious moment with. Your husband can be there, your older children, your mum, siblings, your friends, and even the dog can be there if you like. At the hospital, this can be restricted to two or three people maximum. You can also have a more private birth, without the interruptions of hospital staff, and you won’t have to endure routine medical intervention.

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4. You are in control

Unlike a hospital birth, your partner is given the opportunity to be involved — he may catch the baby and cut the cord if he likes. You also have the opportunity to hold your baby right from the womb. There is no time constraint, you can hold and bond with your baby as long as you want. In some hospitals, the baby is cleaned and evaluated immediately after delivery, preventing mothers from spending time with the baby right from womb. The first hour after birth is when the baby is most awake and alert. It’s the perfect time to bond by holding your baby skin-to-skin on your chest and to start breastfeeding, which helps the uterus contract and reduces bleeding immediately after delivery.

If you settle with a hospital birth, when writing your birth plan or discussing the delivery with your doctor or midwife, specify how you want it to go. If you want to hold your baby right from the womb before they take him or her away from your sight to clean and evaluate, be sure to let them know. Otherwise, you risk missing out on that precious moment. For a home birth, cleaning and evaluation is done in your arms.

5. You experience a natural labor

If you desire to go through labor in a natural way, with no epidural and pain medications, a home birth should be something to consider. However, if there’s any chance you might want an epidural or other anesthetic pain meds, you won’t be able to order those in at home. If you want to remain in control of your body as much as possible, be an active participant throughout labor, and have minimal routine interventions, such as continuous electronic monitoring, then a natural, unmedicated approach to labor and birth will suit you best. If you choose to go this route, you accept the potential for pain and discomfort as part of giving birth. But that shouldn’t be something you can’t bear. Before epidurals, women gave birth without. Our bodies release endorphins during childbirth which serves as a natural pain relief. With the right preparation and support, mothers often feel empowered and deeply satisfied by natural childbirth. Unlike pain meds, natural childbirth techniques are not invasive, so there’s little potential for harm or side effects for you or your baby.

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6. You have the midwife all to yourself

During a home birth, you have your health care provider all to yourself. Your midwife is 100% focused on you and your baby. The midwife will be with you to provide support and help you through labor. They carry the same kind of equipment and medication you would find at the birth centre. Your midwife will also follow up to visit you and give you lactation advise after the birth. During the labor, your midwife will periodically monitor your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and your baby’s heart rate. After the baby arrives, your health care provider will examine your newborn and do all the paperwork while you relax and enjoy your little one.

 7. Giving birth at home means lower cost

A home birth is relatively low-cost compared to a hospital birth.  A planned home birth might cost about one-third of the hospital birth’s cost. You can save a lot of money by choosing a home birth and invest it into baby’s essentials, such as strollers, cribs, clothing, and all the other necessities to make your adorable baby’s life on earth more comfortable.

Be mindful that home birth is not right for everyone. Your health care provider will caution against a home birth if you have diabetes, chronic hypertension, a seizure disorder, or any chronic medical condition. If you previously had a C-section or have developed a pregnancy complication, such as preeclampsia, or if you are pregnant with multiples or your baby is in breech position, a home birth might not be right for you.

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If you’re not sure whether you have medical or obstetrical problems that would keep you from having a home birth, contact a home birth provider and share your concerns over the phone. If there are no obvious reasons to rule out a home birth, you can make an appointment for a first prenatal visit. At that visit, the caregiver will do a detailed history and physical exam, as well as the usual set of lab tests. They’ll continue to assess your situation throughout your pregnancy and during labor, birth, and the postpartum period. If you’re a healthy expectant mother having a normal pregnancy and you have no medical or obstetrical risk factors, giving birth at home may be something to consider.

Featured photo credit: New born baby Leo via flickr.com

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Published on March 13, 2019

What Makes A Great Place to Work Whilst Pregnant

What Makes A Great Place to Work Whilst Pregnant

Among women who had their first child in the early 1960s, just 44% worked at all during pregnancy. The latest figures show that 66% of mothers who gave birth to their first child between 2006 and 2008 worked during their pregnancy.[1]  It also showed that about eight-in-ten pregnant workers (82%) continued in the workplace until within one month of their first birth which has vastly increased from 35%. It is clear to see form the statical trends that more women are choosing to continue working through, and late into, pregnancy.

Unlike other developed world countries, the USA does not mandate any paid leave for new mothers under federal law,[2] though some individual employers make that accommodation and it is mandated by a handful of individual states. Finding what makes a great workplace whilst pregnant can alleviate stress and provide more stability for you and your family. 

In this article, you will discover exactly the best places to work whilst pregnant.

How Difficult Is It to Work Whilst Pregnant?

Many people strive to find and attain good jobs. For pregnant women, however, that process is often especially challenging. After all, you’ll face extra obstacles that are unique to expectant mothers.

If you are pregnant and need a job, then you’re definitely not alone. You are also not alone if you’re already employed and want to find a new job that is more family-friendly. Changing jobs while pregnant is something that many women consider, especially when they realise that their current positions may not be suitable for pregnancy or offer the benefits or flexibility that they’ll soon need. 

Getting a job while pregnant may not be the easiest thing in the world to do, but it is possible.

You can look for employment opportunities that don’t require too much physical exertion and that won’t cause you much emotional stress. Also, look for jobs that come with the chance to work flexible hours, offer good medical benefits, allow you to take time off as needed, and don’t require a long commute. In addition, it’s obviously wise to consider avoiding jobs that may expose you to toxins, people with communicable illnesses, or other physical hazards.

The Pre-Natal Mamma’s Needs

During pregnancy, there are many mental and physiological changes that a woman will go through. In understanding those changes, it is more clear which types of jobs and workplaces are more suited to you as a pregnant woman. 

During pregnancy, the birth of your baby and the postnatal period, changes in the hormones in your body can have an effect on your emotions during pregnancy. These hormones and the changes can cause joy, fear, surprise and anxiety all of which can be assisted with necessary support and talking. 

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The physiological changes are more varied according to each trimester:

1st Trimester (0-13 weeks)

In the first few weeks following conception, your hormone levels change significantly. Your uterus begins to support the growth of the placenta and the fetus, your body adds to its blood supply to carry oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby, and your heart rate increases.

These changes accompany many of the pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue, morning sickness, headaches, and constipation. During the first trimester, the risk of miscarriage is significant.

2nd Trimester (13 – 27 weeks)

While the discomforts of early pregnancy should ease off, there are a few new symptoms to get used to. Common complaints include leg cramps and heartburn. You might find yourself growing more of an appetite, and your weight gain will accelerate. 

3rd Trimester (28 weeks – birth)

Travel restrictions take effect during the third trimester. It’s advised that you stay in relatively close proximity to your doctor or midwife in case you go into labor early. The baby is growing bigger and stronger; the kicks can be quite powerful and your abdomen is becoming larger and heavier.

Stretch marks may develop if they haven’t earlier in the pregnancy. Braxton-Hicks contractions- which are usually perceived as painless tightening can be felt. Lower back pain is very common and there may be more pelvic pressure and with this more frequent urination. 

Swollen legs and feet are very common as are increased fatigue, interrupted sleep and a reduced ability to eat a full meal at one sitting.

4th Trimester (Post birth onwards)

Your baby’s fourth trimester starts from the moment she’s born and lasts until she is three months old. The term is used to describe a period of great change and development in your newborn, as she adjusts to her new world outside your womb. There are many adaptations, recovery and rest that you and your baby need through this trimester whether you have a natural or c-section birth.

All of these considerations need to be in mind when looking to find a great workplace whilst pregnant — whether you’re looking to ask for more support from your current workplace, find a new job or enter employment. 

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Next, let’s look at the factors that would define the opposite; somewhere you shouldn’t look to work whilst pregnant.

How to Spot The Worst Workplaces to Work Whilst Pregnant

1. Non-Negotiable Heavy Lifting

Do you have to lift, push, bend, shove, and load materials all day? If you do, many experts believe you should ask for a job reassignment or quit by the 20th week of pregnancy.

2. Toxic Environments

The list of jobs that involve dangerous substances is miles long. Consider the artist who works with paint and solvents all day, the dry cleaner who breathes in cleaning fumes, the agricultural or horticultural worker who works with pesticides, the photographer who uses toxic chemicals to develop pictures, the tollbooth attendant who breathes in car and truck exhaust, or the printer who works with lead substances.

3. Proximity to People with Communicable Illnesses

Working with or exposure to certain bacteria, viruses, or other infectious agents could increase your chances of having a miscarriage, a baby with a birth defect, or other reproductive problems.  Some infections can pass to an unborn baby during pregnancy and cause a miscarriage or birth defect. Infections like seasonal influenza (the flu) and pneumonia can cause more serious illness in pregnant women.

4. Extended Hours of Standing

Cooks, nurses, salesclerks, waiters, police officers, and others, have jobs that keep them on their feet all day. This can be difficult for a pregnant woman, but it might be downright dangerous for her unborn baby. Studies have found that long hours of standing during the last half of pregnancy disrupt the flow of blood.[3]

Key Factors Creating a Great Workplace whilst Pregnant

1. Flexibility

You might feel tired as your body works overtime to support your pregnancy — and resting during the workday can be tough. Having an employer or job that provide care and is understanding to your needs is hugely beneficial.

A compassionate and empathetic employer will understand morning sickness; they will facilitate changes in working hours to accommodate your energy and assist with the smells from the work kitchen. 

They will also enable you to remain flexible to snack as and when you want to – crackers and other bland foods can be lifesavers when you feel nauseated. Nad eating small frequent meals are similarly saving you as your meal quantity decreases.

2. Compassion

More employers are learning that the idea that pregnant women are willing and necessary contributors to the economy and are capable of adding long-term value to their organizations. 

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Employers that follow good practice in maternity can improve the experience of pregnant employees and new mothers and encourage them to return to work following maternity leave.

A good relationship between a pregnant employee and her line manager is essential to the successful reintegration of the employee following maternity leave.

3. Stress Reduced

Stress on the job can sap the energy you need to care for yourself and your baby.

To minimize workplace stress, take control. Make daily to-do lists and prioritise your tasks. Consider what you can delegate to someone else — or eliminate. 

Talk it out. Share frustrations with a supportive co-worker, friend or loved one. 

Practice relaxation techniques, such as breathing slowly or imagining yourself in a calm place. Try a prenatal yoga class, as long as your health care provider says it’s OK.

4. Adaptable

As your pregnancy progresses, everyday activities such as sitting and standing can become uncomfortable. Remember those short, frequent breaks to combat fatigue? Moving around every few hours also can ease muscle tension and help prevent fluid buildup in your legs and feet. 

Using an adjustable chair with good lower back support can make long hours of sitting much easier — especially as your weight and posture change. If your chair isn’t adjustable, use a small pillow or cushion to provide extra support for your back.

Elevate your legs to decrease swelling. If you must stand for long periods of time, put one of your feet up on a footrest, low stool or box. Switch feet every so often and take frequent breaks.

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Wear comfortable shoes with good arch support. Consider wearing support or compression hose, too.

5. Financial Support

Financial strain is one of the leading causes of peri & post natal depression. Employers can support employees by offering them benefits beyond the statutory minimum, for example training mechanisms to help them cope with balancing work and family commitments. 

The employer should conduct a performance review with the employee prior to her maternity leave to boost her confidence and encourage her to consider how parenthood and work will fit together.

Key Take-Aways

If you’re working while you’re pregnant, you need to know your rights to antenatal care, maternity leave and benefits. 

If you have any worries about your health while at work, talk to your doctor, midwife or occupational health nurse. You can also talk to your employer, union representative, or someone in the personnel department (HR) where you work. 

Once you tell your employer that you’re pregnant, they should do a risk assessment with you to see if your job poses any risks to you or your baby. If there are any risks, they have to make reasonable adjustments to remove them. This can include changing your working hours. 

If you work with chemicals, lead or X-rays, or in a job with a lot of lifting, it may be illegal for you to continue to work. In this case, your employer must offer you alternative work on the same terms and conditions as your original job. If there’s no safe alternative, your employer should suspend you on full pay (give you paid leave) for as long as necessary to avoid the risk.

Look for employment opportunities that don’t require too much physical exertion and that won’t cause you much emotional stress. Also, look for jobs that come with the chance to work flexible hours, offer good medical benefits, allow you to take time off as needed, and don’t require a long commute. 

Your current employer may need to offer you different types of work or a change to your working hours. If your employer can’t get rid of the risks (for example by finding other suitable work without any reduction in pay for you), they should offer you suspension on full pay.

Featured photo credit: Alicia Petresc via unsplash.com

Reference

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